The Market Report: Unilever is back in favour with the City

Love it or hate it? With Marmite-owner Unilever, the Square Mile has done both this week. After investors had lost their appetite for the consumer goods giant thanks to profit warnings from Danone and Procter & Gamble (P&G), yesterday they were finding it rather more to their taste.

The alerts from Unilever's rivals, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively, had pushed its share price down amid fears over a slowdown in demand. Last night, however, the Anglo-Dutch group climbed 18p to 2,080p, despite the Footsie moving the other way, as City types claimed the woes of its peers could actually be a bullish signal.

Pablo Zuanic, an analyst at Liberum Capital, claimed P&G's profit warning supported the idea that Unilever is not only taking market share in the US but also seeing faster growth globally.

In addition, he said the issues of P&G (whose brands include Duracell and Gillette) were "mostly company specific" and added that the situation was an opportunity to snap up Unilever's shares.

Another giving the group a helping hand was Investec's Martin Deboo. Although he said the news showed "consumer staples are not immune from the forces of gravity", the scribe added that "Unilever is a company ... gaining momentum rather than losing it".

At the same time, fellow consumer goods group Reckitt Benckiser – home to Cillit Bang and Nurofen – was also showing bouncebackability after being hit by the profit warnings, charging up 52p to 3,419p.

The FTSE 100 failed to extend its winning streak to a fifth session, instead dipping 55.93 points to 5,566.36 in the wake of the US Fed deciding late on Wednesday not to restart quantitative easing 3 while also cutting growth forecasts for the States.

Disappointing economic data from Germany and China didn't help, with news from the latter particularly bad for the heavyweight miners – Anglo American was the worst of the bunch after being knocked back 114p to 2,101p.

Meanwhile, commodities trading giant Glencore set a new, all-time low by dropping 10.6p to 322.65p following the Association of British Insurers' attack on the payouts included in the proposed merger deal with Anglo-Swiss digger Xstrata, 31.1p lower at 839p.

Elsewhere, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays dipped 4.3p to 243.3p and 3.45p to 202.3p as the market braced itself for expected downgrades late last night from ratings agency Moody's.

After its shares added more than a quarter on Wednesday, Invensys' announcement that takeover talks had taken placed with potential suitor Emerson but had ended meant the engineer slumped 37p to 220p on the FTSE 250.

The fall left a number of burnt fingers in its wake, although there were plenty believing the long-running bid speculation around the group would continue with analysts at Singer Capital saying they see "strategic buyers for each of group's divisions".

Aquarius Platinum was another crashing down to earth. The platinum producer was pegged back 6.5p to 53.2p on the news it is suspending work at its Everest mine in South Africa, little more than a week after it did the same at its Marikana site.

With its Blue Ridge mine also being closed last year, it now means that Aquarius has just two open.

Platinum prices have dived while operating costs have soared, prompting analysts to calculate that at Everest the company was losing roughly £270 for every ounce produced.

Takeover talk was continuing to swirl around Drax. The power station group was the subject of revived rumours last week that British Gas-owner Centrica, down 4.8p to 310.3p, could be considering a possible move, and yesterday HSBC's analysts claimed it "will become an increasingly attractive asset", although this didn't stop Drax sliding 2p to 560p.

Meanwhile, the optimistic run-up to Dixons Retail's final results proved well-founded. The high street chain managed an underlying profit for the year of £70.8m, ahead of guidance, as it advanced another 1.19p to 17.19p.

It may not be the height of romance, but – according to figures highlighted by Numis Securities' Ivor Jones – Cupid's risqué dating site, BeNaughty.com, has had a storming 2012. The analyst reiterated his "buy" recommendation as a result, pointing out that similar sites in France and Germany have also gained in popularity. Cupid still slipped 0.5p to 191.5p on Aim.

Suggested Topics
News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Senior Asset Manager

£70000 - £75000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Katie Robinson +44 (...

Application Support Analyst / Junior SQL Server DBA

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established professional services...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham - Real Staffing

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...

Business Development Manager / Media Sales Exec

£28 - 32k + Uncapped Commission: Guru Careers: A Business Development Manager ...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor